>> here are the top ten best selling book. david limbaugh, crimes against liberty, liberty and tyranny and laura, the obama diaries coming in at number three. fourth is going rogue by sarah palin, six, is anne culters guilty. glenn beck is on the list at number 7 with the overton window. goldberg's book, a slobbering love affair between the relationship of the president obama and the media is number eight. former house speaker newt gingrich is ninth, to save america. number ten is catastrophe by dick morris and ilene mccan.
u.s. special operations command talks on war and politics with former u.s. defense secretary william cohen. >> host: the general shelton, it's a pleasure to see you. and for full disclosure, tell the audience that we had the pleasure of serving together it is my honor to serve with you for more than three years when we were both at the pentagon you were chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and me as secretary defense, so this is almost i guess the second time we have seen each other since those heydays so to speak. what i would like to do in the course of the next hour is to talk about your book, "withoutsd hesitation," which is a fascinating story of your life. i was once asked how long it took me to write a certain book and was being quoted to someone else my whole life but what you
have done is you have written your whole life in this book and i thought it would be interesting to go back and look at what came together for you. tell me about speed and north carolina. that is where you were born. what was life like? >> first of all is great to be with you again and it is my honor and my pleasure to serve with you and for you during our days as the secretary. speed north carolina is a very small eastern north carolina rural community. basically composed of what tom brokaw called the greatest generation. that's the environment i grew up. my mother taught school first through with great speed school. there were a couple or three schools where everyone hung out if he will and drink coca-cola and philip glass bottles or
moonshine, whatever. but it was a great environment for young person to grow up, and the church was an enjoyable part of the community as well and the core values we learned at home and in church and the school. >> population? >> guest: population would reach at its maximum it probably got up to 200 people may be if you count every dog and cat in town. >> so you were a farm boy as such? >> i grew up about two and a half miles outside. my wife of 47 years actually grew up in speed. >> host: you met her when you were in fourth grade? >> guest: it was in the fourth grade we met. i say sometimes i proposed to her and the fifth grade but that isn't true. we started coming together when we were in high school and ultimately married. >> host: let's go back to speak because that captures a little bit about you.
you were so speedy if not used at third agreed like you said. >> guest: my mother was a school teacher and she basically had me through the first grade before i ever started first grade she was my teacher and used to remind me how i would go to school and cry because i knew everything and i was bored to tears so when i went in the second grade i always knew the second grade teachers of that teacher of proposed by skip 30 and go on to fourth and they got me to struggle more than i had in the past and it made it much more enjoyable. >> in terms of speed he also had a fascination as i read in your story you were 16-years-old and you had become a bus driver by that point? >> guest: i had but it had governors on that bus and the next speed i could get normally was about probably 28, 29 maybe 30 miles an hour but if you reach up under the - and loosen the vacuum hose you could get up
to 32 and get a little more speed out of the. >> host: an infraction of the law? >> guest: just a little bit. fortunately the bus drivers, the mechanics would always check that and of course it was always back in place. >> host: how tall were you then? >> guest: in the seventh grade i was about 57 by the time i got to the eighth grade i was 61, 62 and 59 credit suisse 65. >> host: i assume you played some basketball? >> guest: the school i went to was so small we didn't have a football team but i played football and basketball and i loved both. >> host: and i assume the position was center? >> guest: in those days i was a senator and one of the biggest in the conference. of course nowadays i'm short for a point guard at the university. >> host: he went on to north carolina state?
>> guest: i had grown up with a couple and from the time i was a young person i wanted to go to the state in fact when i took the interest my scores were so low they didn't want to let me in and so my father suggested i go to another school which is a great school and the first time in my life i pushed back on him saying if i can't go to state and won't go anywhere so ultimately i took a correspondence course and was accepted into the university. >> host: but you had some problems. you wanted to be an aeronautical engineer? >> guest: i did want to be an engineer and the school likened from i was a straight a student, didn't study, did it with a breeze but when i was at state my world turned upside down. tied to that i also wanted to play basketball. they said we want to bring you on the team but you're not doing very well. you are flunking three out of five courses right now you have to change your curriculum and i said i won't do that to the
recreation park administration which is what they wanted and so ultimately i decided i wasn't going to play basketball but i did change in textiles which i found fascinating. >> host: tell me how you had to switch from engineering to textiles. i did you wrote your fascinated with the making of socks? >> guest: actually i was. my roommate was out one point majoring in textiles, and he had these books and they had swatches and he would talk about the design, and i found some of that to be really fascinating and i got interested and went over and talked to the people at the textile school and next i knew i was a textile major in in i enjoyed that. >> host: what led you to look at the military? >> guest: north carolina state was a grand college and consequently in those days you had to take two years of rotc. i took those two years and i enjoyed it and so i found out that if you went into the third
and fourth year you had to commit to an obligation and the army, but they paid you $27 a month and to a farm boy and speed that was a big deal and i said sign me up, i will do it, and so on accepted the obligation and received my $27 a month from my last two years in school. >> guest: did you get an offer from the firm before you went into the military? >> guest: i did receive offers and i finally selected one after going for an interview at south carolina with the regal textile corporation which had the largest mill in the united states. it got cut in the back and produced finished cloth the end which was unusual to have a finishing plant as well and so i signed up -- i signed a contract with them with the understanding that i had two years in the military before i could join them and they said the problem, we will wait for you, and they
did. >> host: when were you married? >> guest: as soon as i graduated i went to the infantry office to start my obligation in the army and as soon as i had completed that, i returned to speed for about three or four days and carolyn and i were married in the church we had gone to and grew up in and where my mother played the organ for 60 years and that is where we were married and immediately turned around and drove right back. >> host: kidcare allin go with you? >> guest: she did, she went with me and i went back and i left her there in the compartment right outside of the gate at fort benning and i said i will be again just a minute i want to run out and signed into the apartment so that they don't charge me for leave belli will come back. >> host: but you were there today's early? >> guest: i was. i got there actually about three or four days early and i went out and i said i will come back and i went out and signed in. the minute i signed and i said
who do i have to report for the course and they said you are a ranger, get upstairs you are staying here, and so i had the car keys, the checkbook, the money, and my wife was in that apartment by herself, but this sergeant had told me get upstairs, you are now a ranger, stephen, and so i did but it bothered me all night long i said i've got to get out of here so the next morning i went down and found the captain officer and i said i've got to at least give my wife the car keys and the check so he gave me two hours to go back and give her that and then return to the course. fortunately she was still there when i returned. [laughter] >> host: was that her first -- >> guest: her first experience in the army. >> host: what is the lesson you learned from that experience where you were there early and didn't have time to go back and take care of things at home what was the lesson that left for you? >> guest: the lesson i carried with me the next 38 years in the military was you have got to make sure that when you receive
soldiers into the unit their families are taken care of before you put them to work. you can't just, you know, the minute design and say we are leaving tomorrow for an exercise or whatever. make sure their families are settled otherwise their mind will not be on the deed. >> host: i think you have written if the soldiers are not satisfied as a family being taken care if he or she is not going to be able to perform their job. >> guest: exactly. if we don't take care of the families in the military than they are going to be a big influence on whether or not we are able to keep the individual in the armed forces. >> host: tell me about your experience. what was your first jump like and why did you want to be richer and dimare bourn? >> guest: i was a young infantry officer and thought airborne ranger, that is what being an infantry officer is all about and so if i don't go to jump school and ranger school i might as well forget about being all why can be. and so i applied for that and eventually was accepted and i was going out on my very first
parachute jump and i told my wife i will be the next to the last man to come out of their plans to keep your eyes on that parachute. and sure enough she went out to the drops on that day and the plane flew over but she did not know and i didn't realize is the last minute they would reverse the order and that i was going to be the second man out of the aircraft, not the next last so i went, everything went well, i did my count, got to 4,000i didn't feel the great tug meaning the chute opened and i just reached quickly and saul might shoot was wrapped around itself and what is called a cigarette role and i looked down and the ground is coming at 90 miles an hour and i am getting very close immediately training kicked in and i jerked on the report and turned my head as i was supposed to and a sound like a shotgun and exploded and i was about 100 feet off the ground and i hit the ground pretty hard but immediately pounced on me, grabbed the chute because they wanted to check it
for malfunctioned and then they said you get over there and get on the truck you're going in for another jump and they put me right back on another plane, of course prosy get back on, that was the philosophies i made a second jump. i went home that evening and my wife who witnessed this whole thing but thought it was something else said how sorry she fell for that young trooper that almost killed himself out on the drop zone and she said who was that, did you know him and i said you really don't want to know so that's when she found out it was me but by that time i made a second jump and said everything went just fine so she was okay. >> host: let me fast forward now. you have a pretty rough experience in that first jump, it nearly cost you your life. you also had the chance to jump with president bush 41 and he liked to jump on his 70 come 75th and maybe 80th birthday. was it the 75th? tell us about that. >> guest: it was a great day. we were at texas a&m university
and there were a total of about eight of us all together going to jump that day with him and he went out first and as i had experienced on my free-fall job where you don't have anyone, he had two guys jumping with him but he was by himself and he was going to do deactivation and he lost control and started tumbling and i'm out of love him looking down at this thinking man the president's got a problem, but he had a great golden light jumping with him on the parachute team, the same guy that trained me so i knew he was in good hands but he had thrown both of them away and the tumbling. they were originally called in on to him and so they finally got him stabilized and pulled the chute and he landed and i landed and he came running over and said have you ever experienced anything like that? i thought i was going to die. i said mr. president, i have
experienced the same thing but it's a pretty terrifying experience but he went right back and did it again. >> host: steve had to look like 450 jumps from 30,000 feet? during the course of your career and yet you had one fall from a very low level the resulted in a pretty but con consequence. why don't you talk about that. >> guest: it was ironic about five months after i retired i was at my backyard and learned to do handiwork and a week before i trend a couple of 100-year-old trees with limbs on them that this particular morning i went out and helped them with a small branch off a tree that was right on the borderline between my neighbor's yard and the , and there was a cyclone fence about 4 feet tall and my feet for about 5 feet off the ground and i trimmed the first, no problem but it didn't fall. it stayed there. then i trimmed the one below and
it gave way both of them put the extension on the lottery, not a really big deal. i simply pitched the chains off to the left and had to do a bunny hop off to the right but as i did that it started my momentum to go to the ground my feet caught the top of the cyclone fence propelling the four were under my head and then i hit i was paralyzed from the neck down. i knew what i had done instantaneously but the problem was like couldn't get my breath. i didn't with the time that a damage miners that controls your ability to breathe and if i knocked the wind out of myself and a struggle to get air and i thought to myself 450 parachute jumps and i am going out like this. this isn't something i write about eventually a neighbor heard me hollering as i would do every so often because was very cold and my wife was inside and she heard it and i said please have my wife called 911, and it
was they carried me to a local hospital in virginia and there i was told by the neurosurgeons initially you'll never walk again, you will never be able to use your hands. >> host: your reaction? >> guest: i couldn't see him but i could see his presence because he had a big column and i asked him if his name was god and he said no it's not it's dr. so and so and i said well, good, we will see about that then, and fortunately caroline had called the commander at walter reed who sent down the doctor, they took one look at the result from the mri and said we've got work to do we've got to get you out of here so we went out to walter reed, and i call it luck or an act of god there was a young man who majored in the army of the time now colonel who had been trained john hopkins and how to treat spinal cord injuries by raising
your blood pressure and therefore forcing blood around the injury so they told me what they would like to do and i asked where the down sides? the city through a massive stroke or heart attack. but with you got a good heart and can withstand it. i said let's go for it, the game favors the old. carolina agreed instantly and in a few minutes they were raising the blood pressure and for about six or seven hours i stayed toasting boreman and the doctors swarming all over me in the room but even julia think it must have worked because 83 days later i walked out of walter reed. >> host: tataris for you was remain paralyzed or take this life-threatening techniques that make restored your ability to walk again? >> guest: yes, sir it was an easy choice. we both agreed let's go forward. that is the way we live our lives. >> host: you spend 83 days? >> guest: i can't say enough about walter reed.
the team, the young captain said life was totally paralyzed and about the effort day he said we are going to get you on your feet and start walking. i started laughing and said you've got to be kidding and the captain solomon who was the triathlete himself said we are not kidding we are going to get you up and he did and i immediately passed out and they sounded the code and the next thing you know i've got 20 doctors swarming around me asking me questions and i told them my name is hugh shelton and i know i just fainted and we need to get on with it and try again, they were great. >> host: you had a number of people who called you at that time. ross perot? >> guest: i did. individuals like ross perot and tom brokaw. i mean, a large number. i had a visit from secretary defense, bill cohen and his wife, janet, the very first night i believe for the second night i was there, lots of people showed their concern and it was, you know, you and i both have posted lots of dinners for our counterparts, and i found
out during my 83 days what that has meant to a lot of individuals around the world because the cards and letters that came from some of those counterparts that we had hosted were just unbelievable as well as schools for one of the united states from people all over the country and the support and a tremendous amount. king abdullah came back and to see me at the hospital. he's a great king and a great individual, and we developed a friendship while he was serving in special locations in jordan, and it's just a lot of people to include. both presidents, president bill clinton came and visited and people like connie stevens. it was just tremendous. >> host: let's go back and talk about what does it mean to be chairman of the joint chiefs of staff? what does the chairman to? >> guest: well, it is an awesome responsibility because you basically represent the men and women in uniform at the highest position as the principal advisor to the
secretary defense, to the president of the united states and the national security council and that is basically when you do. you have a 1200 man staff and some of the finest people in uniform of all the services, the marine corps, coast guard representatives and you advise the secretary of defense and the president on the best military options for the particular situations we find ourselves in. >> host: as high as that position is you were not in the quote, a chain of command. what you mean by that? >> guest: the chain of command runs from our combat commanders from people like central command and pacific command in to the secretary of defense and to the president. that's the chain. the chairman is the adviser to both that chain but if you don't have a good relationship and a good connection to the individuals out in the field, then you are unable to give the
secretary defense the best advice and the other thing you can do if they work a lot of these issues through the chair and you can start the ball rolling before you even advise the secretary or the president to get things lined up to carry out whatever decision we make. >> host: basically you can be cut out of the chain of communication if you have a combatant commander we used to call them since and if you have a combatant commander who wants to report directly to the security fence and not talk to you and that sector to the defense goes directly to the president you don't necessarily have to consult, what is your reaction to that? >> guest: that was an issue we had well before goldwater nichols, and goldwater nichols tried to fix that by making sure that we had a principled to the secretary and to the president. if you do that, if you cut out the chairman you are cutting off the joint chiefs of staff which in the conference room is called the tank and in their they
discussed various things related to these operational issues they can do to help that combatant commander and if you cut that grew out of this as we found happened during the rumsfeld tenure in office where the chairman and the joint chiefs are pushed to the side and marginalized, if you will, than 200 years of military experience and those six individual joint chiefs are being ignored or pushed to the side and you, the president and the secretary do not necessarily get the best military advice. >> host: does that qualify as -- there's a book written by colonel now general mcmaster about the dereliction of duty. do you want to talk about the importance of that book and the question i want to ask is there a dereliction of duty if you have the chairman of the joint chiefs and the other members of the joint chiefs who are shoulder aside and don't participate and basically
providing collective wisdom to the secretary and to the president of the united states is that a dereliction of duty? >> guest: that book written by h.r. mcmaster as i recommend to anyone who wants to look at the inside of the decision making process that went on during vietnam. when you find when you read mcmaster's because there is dereliction at every level. joint chiefs don't come across very well in that environment either because they really didn't have a chairman they were a collective group, but depending who the senior man in town was that day he's tried to speak for the group so you found parochial things taking place even within the joint chiefs. but most of all, you found some deceit, some deception going on during that period where the president and the secretary were not getting the best military advice and we really were not organized to make sure that haven't, but goldwater nichols came along and establish the chairman as a principal advisor, gave him a vice chairman that
would represent in his absence and made the joint chiefs a body of people that could then provide the best military advice. mcmaster's book which outlines it very well i think shows that if you don't have the joint chiefs as envisioned by under goldwater nichols the the president, secretary and the national security council are not necessarily going to get the best military policy. >> host: was the message from mcmasters that the military allows this to take place or engages in either altering the advice or shaping it in a way that is more politically designed than pure military point of view does that constitute a dereliction of duty, and is that why you get that book to each of your joint chiefs to remind them that they have an obligation to never let that happen? >> guest: precisely. i couldn't have said it any better and when i first went into office and read mcmasters book i did carry a copy and gave it to each of the joint chiefs and said you know, we've got to
make sure this never happens and as you recall very well, you read the book yourself and i think we all gain from that in terms of making sure we work together as a team and everything we did was transparent and that we use that collective body to provide the best advice. when a combatant commander would come into the tank and brief his plan, he had the air force chief say it's really good but i can do these things for you to make it even better and the army would say and i can give you more than you're asking for if that's what -- what ever. so they really help, but if you are one who doesn't like to get constructive criticism, then you find that process to become you know, not to your liking and i think that is what we found during the entry in iraq in 2003 and that does constitute a dereliction of duty in my opinion. >> host: what should the joint chiefs have done at that point if they find themselves
excluded, continue just doing what they do and being ignored or should they protest by offering to step aside? >> guest: i think the joint chiefs need to inject themselves into a process like that and they are not marginalized. if i were the chairman and my advice for to be ignored or i did not think the joint chiefs were being gainfully used in this process i might as well resign because i'm not helping the president. to be frank i never had to because i was never put in that position. now there were occasions toward the end of my tenure when i did in fact go up and say for example when the secretary, your successor, secretary rumsfeld wanted to fire the director of the joint staff deny barged in
and said if you fire him you get to for the price of one because if you're not happy with him you are obviously not happy with me i haven't heard a word about that if that is the case both of us will leave, and i feel like, you know, i didn't walk around looking for reasons to leave. i enjoyed the job and i liked the job but i also wanted to be part of the team and not excluded from the process. >> host: that was the case if you speaking truth to your superior such as a civilian head of the military saying if you take this action i am leaving, and there were other examples where you felt the need to confront authority. i think there was one occasion which you had a dispute with an admiral about whether a submarine was a peaceful nuclear? [laughter] talk about that little that? >> guest: that was admiral crowell used submarines and well and in fact he knew his ships when we used to brief on the persian gulf operations we can
tell you the numbers in the persian gulf where the ships would be in the area. but one morning about 1:00 in the morning we had a submarine that sank off key west and i called the admiral of and i already looked up and i thought i knew everything there was to know about this submarine but the minute i told him the submarine name he said that is a nuclear and i said no, mr. chairman, that's a diesel. he said you need to get your facts together, general, that is a nuclear submarine and i said sir, i will double check and call you right back but by that time perspiration was breaking out on my brow because i thought how could i have made a mistake like this, so we read it again and check and sure enough it was a diesel and so i called him back immediately and said it is a diesel submarine and i stood my ground and with him the navy and knowing ships like he did i thought surely i made a mistake. >> host: you had another problem with was it admiral miller in terms of the plan for
haiti? >> guest: i did. >> host: could you talk about that? >> guest: we designed a plan under admiral miller's guidance, he was great to work for, we designed a plan to go to haiti and it did in rolph walz of missing pieces, you name it, and we had decided to put the army troops aboard an aircraft carrier for the first time, and i had called down an area for the marines to go where they could do an operation right out of the doctrine and they were going we had airborne going in very close to port-au-prince and i had special operations taking balance from the target's right in to the port of hagee. all of sudden of the last minute the admiral call me and told me he wanted the marines to take the target's and i said that puts them at a cross going directly perpendicular to the flow of the forces. and he said that is the way i want it to happen, and so i went
in to see the admiral and i told him why i was there and i said i'm very concerned about your decision to put the marines in its place and in fact i do not go along with that and he said are you telling me i have to get in ft commander if i insist on doing it that way? i said that is exactly what i am telling you because that subjects people to death. it really doesn't necessarily. we have a plan but now you want to change its last minute. he said let me think about it so i flew back to fort bragg not knowing if i would even be in command of the next day and a few minutes later the phone rang and he said i've reconsidered, keep it like it is. >> host: let's take a break here to follow up with other stories contained. >> "after words" with hugh shelton and william cohen will continue after this short break.
>> "after words" with hugh shelton and william cohen continues. >> host: mr. chairman, you had an interesting experience shortly after becoming the chairman of the joint chiefs and had a meeting in the situation room at the white house. could you describe what took place? >> guest: it was right after reading of the dereliction of duty which i never thought i would see anything like that in the administration that i was joining. i went to a meeting at, and
breakfast if you will in the national security adviser's office and would normally be attended remember yourself and secretary of state and a number of other individuals and occasionally other cabinet members that might be asked to come to speak on a certain subject, and you were gainfully employed with the national security adviser at the table and there were other sidebar conversations going on. we haven't really gotten into the formal -- informal discussions that would take place to all of a sudden one of the cabinet members said dino why shouldn't ask you this but i flying reconnaissance plane that normally flies at 70,000 feet for operational reasons as well as staying in a secret note in terms of the iraqi snowing we were there so that the iraqi can shoot it down and therefore getting a precipitous event that would allow us to go in and to tout
saddam hussein? wealthy here on the back of my neck stood up, my fist clenched, my teeth got a very tight and i through clenched teeth i said of course i can. the individual broken out in a soon as i get your butt qualified to fly i will fly as low and slow as you would like to go. the individual said i know i shouldn't have asked you that and i said you're right that's america. there's a great american who flies that and we are not going to subject him to harm so we got an even to go into iraq and then i went back and i said i ask you to read dereliction of duty and you may not think things like that can still go on but trust me, they do. and i didn't reveal the name of the individual and i didn't because i shall the remorse on the individuals face and i knew they had learned a great lesson that day and i didn't see the reason to continue to embarrass
them in the process. >> host: there were other examples during your four years of the pentagon as chairman where we were fixated on getting some of -- osama bin laden and a lot of questions have come up over the years. why has it been so difficult, and there were a number of proposals made. one was my not just put a special forces unit, drop them contract down bin laden and take him out. what was your reaction to that proposal? >> guest: there were a number of proposals as you recall and i think some of them would come up as a result of people we be idea. but what they take into account in many cases is we don't operate like that in america. we don't put people where we can't get to them and they are subject to be overrun were killed without us being able to even get in to extract the
bodies so in order to put the team into afghanistan it was a nine hour helicopter flight and in order to do that or to drop them to go in and get them you had to have the refueling capabilities, some kind of search and rescue that could go in quickly in case an engine went in or out, either iraq or pakistan and the both of them had the capability of going after with high performance aircraft so you have to have air defense or try to coordinate and as you recall we couldn't coordinate with either of them because they had direct lines right into osama bin laden or al qaeda forces. and so it was a very complicated and most people didn't want to hear that they wanted you to snap your fingers and perform magic and we just didn't have magic. we tried hard to get osama bin laden not at the expense of subject in our own people to death or a situation we could not assist them in the process.
>> host: and taking 100 or two or 300 aircraft or moving parts in a small unit into afghanistan. >> guest: exactly and we had one here for an idea you may recall that cannot where we think he's going to border our civilian airliner and he squinted flight to chechnya and we want you to be prepared and happy couple of f-16s on the air by that can shoot on this aircraft and our response to that was how do we know he is even on the aircraft and what happens if he's not on the aircraft? you recall at one point we thought him in kandahar. but if we fire missiles into kandahar and we didn't get him we were going to kill 300 officials, women and children included without any assurance whatsoever that he was there. one particular case we elective not to do it and found out later we missed him by about three hours had we done that but we had about 300 people were killed and we would have been branded as terrorists ourselves so it
gets to be very complicated. everyone wants to get him and my answer is yes, we will get him it is just a matter of time. with all of the intelligence we have got focused he's just got to make one mistake that he is very good the way he operates. >> host: can you talk about the one time you thought you had an opportunity to get bin laden and you called upon the services of your great jared? >> guest: we thought we had the chance to get him because he was at some of the training camps in afghanistan, and in order to do that we would have to fire missiles the what goes through the air space and launched a tomahawk missile coming out of either submarines or off the ships at sea but they would have to fly across pakistan, and our concern was if the pakistanis pick up the
missiles flogging for their air space with their radar they might think it was india launching the nuclear attack and they might respond accordingly, and so i asked the great vice chairman if he would use his friendship with the chief of staff and flying into pakistan and have dinner at the same time that we were then launching the missiles to go across through the pakistani airspace. we launched the missiles and had been on a range unfortunately we did not get osama bin laden but it wasn't because we didn't try and we did get a number of other terrorists training in the camp at the time so joe did surface for the nation and was there just in case his services were needed. >> host: so he was there as the missiles were flying over and he could have been talked to his counterpart and said it's okay they are not in the7 missiles.7?3 >> guest: exactly. >> host: you have done a lot of leadership and you talk about leadership and also head up a center on leadership at north carolina state. could you talk about how do you
identify the leaders, how do you chrome them? is it something they have in a flea? how do you build leaders for the future in the military? >> guest: we have a great system and the military itself but let me go to the leadership. i was fortunate when i retired from the chairman that my all modern wanted to establish a leadership center in my name and basically focus on young people starting at high school level into college and then even have a sick mother would be designed for the corporate world as well so we had done that and it's been a great experience because i have watched some really young people come into a program not for knowing what leadership even meant. in my opinion it is the influencing others or one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way and lead by example, coach, teacher, mentor along the way and set examples for our people so we started this program and i have had a chance to see young people who
at first glance didn't have much leadership potential but through training and being shown how to do things and given the opportunity to lead had developed into some really fine leaders and so i believe you can grow leaders even with those who initially don't show disposition toward that it's been a great experience and the army would take the graduates from the rotc and through a system of schools in the service starting with the basic course in carrying into advanced course and the commanding general staff and national war college at every level we have got institutions designed to train and develop the leaders we have the same thing with our noncommissioned officers and it's why our sergeants and officer corps are so strong. >> host: you always maintained you leave from the front, you yourself always volunteer to go
out with them in on the front lines and not be a commanding officer in the rear, and as a result of that, you were always identified early for promotion, and you called it flying under the radar, and you also talk in the book about some in the military their ambitious obviously. you were ambitious to do the right thing to be the best you could be but the message underlying all throughout the book is don't be so concerned about climbing the wrong on the ladder to get to where you are, do the best job you can while you have it and there were negative experiences you talk about in the book, - at the time that the can and valuable to you when you can to serve as the chairman of the trend chiefs even as you sit in the book you never had any ambition to be the chairman of the joint chiefs, you just did the best job you could amol the assignments that you had and you were recognized for your leadership potential under those circumstances, and
that is something that we need to instill not just in the military but throughout our society. let me talk about the iraq right now, afghanistan. from your book it seems you were pretty unopposed going into iraq. could you talk a little about the advice you were giving at that time? >> guest: well, early on, after 9/11 there was a great push to go into iraq. the was the opportunity, the precipitous event they asked me to create seems to sum to be created by 9/11 with one major fault, there wasn't one shred of evidence to show that the iraqi were involved in any way, shape or form and so from day one while i was chairman, i said we should not go into iraq, it will undermine us through the middle east. they know iraq is not involved in 9/11, that is what of the cia and the fbi were saying 100% its al qaeda, and so i thought that would be a big mistake.
now you combine that with the fact that during the tenure carrying on under-secretary rumsfeld we have continued to take out more and more of the iraqi capability so what they had left was nil, very little. now think in retrospect there's no doubt that iraq is a place without saddam hussein, but however we had iraq contained, they had no military capability, couldn't hurt their neighbors, they were shooting at us every day but never hit anything and every time the five-year they lost more, so they didn't have much left to lose and it was obvious that going into iraq you could go with a small force if you wanted to because the military had been decimated by you were going to need a very large force if you wanted to keep the shia, the shiite and the kurds from killing one another once you took away saddam's regime because this all that held them apart. >> host: is that the advice you gave the president? >> guest: that is the advice i give the president and also what i told the joint chiefs about a couple of months before the
decision was made to go into iraq that if you go in you were going to need a much larger force in order to maintain the peace. you can win the war when you can't maintain the peace unless you have a large force. >> host: you told the joint chiefs of the joint chiefs weren't consulted. >> guest: i don't think the joint chiefs were consulted and ultimately the sec to be elected to go with a combatant commanders plan and he put some pressure on him to reduce the forces, he got the forces down where they felt like they could do it and they did. they ignored the joint chiefs cry, eric shinseki, general shinseki to say you need 160,000. general shinseki is the guy that ran bosnia. he knew what the stabilization force requires in order to keep people from killing each other and the ignored that and we see where that resulted. >> host: what's happened in your judgment to the north
trinity in terms of its abilities, we are seeing more suicides coming out of the army in particular, but what is happening to the state of readiness? you talk a lot about readiness in the book. but as a result of extended deployment, talk about combat stress, what it does to the individual. this in author, patterson who's written on post-traumatic stress and describes it in one of his books to see if you take your cap and put them in your backyard and spend the evening lobbying hand grenades you have a different cat in the morning and we are seeing some of that play out in post-traumatic stress with multiple deployment. what does that do for the individual and to family, what is it doing to the integrity of the military itself now? >> guest: there is no question it had a tremendous impact on the army and the marine corps.
but first of all, let me say our men and women that served today are doing service and carrying out the mission that has been given to me on a very fine fashion. we've got great leadership, great in co said soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines. but having said that, i see a lot of marines because i am in an area with a tremendous amount. i was in fort bragg last week at fort benning in tampa at central command. the stress is, tremendous. the deployments are taking their toll coming and you can see it in terms of the divorce rate and in terms of as you mentioned the suicide rate and my concern is we also in order to maintain the force level where they are and even increase it in many cases we have had to lower the standards and that means of the aptitude requirements, we lowered the education requirements, we have raised the age limit up to 42 that you can
enlist the the the quality of the force under the current enlistment standards will gradually go down from where it was during your tenure as secretary and finance chairman, and i am concerned about that and i have had several senior leaders talk to me about that, so that is what i see as long-range that spells trouble because we start off with such a quality force, the best the repetitive keep coming and the stress level keeps up, my concern is our quality will continue to go down. >> host: looking at the choices does it mean we need more high-quality people or fewer deployments? what is the mcsweeney right now as we are looking at our deficit which is significant. there are now proposals to cut the defense as well as other programs. what will the choices be to either increase the size of the force or which costs a great deal of money or do you cut down deployments, the more
restrictive and selective in terms of where you put these young men and women which i agree are the finest. it is accelerating to be in the presence of one of these dedicated patriotic and courageous they are but they are going back and back and back and taking the toll so we have a trade-off. what is your recommendation? >> guest: i think first and foremost as you know we always ought to use our diplomatic economic and political tools if you will before we use the military, and therefore if there is any way we can avoid having to send our troops we certainly should do that. given where we are in afghanistan and iraq right now, i think we will have to see what comes out of the meeting that is taking place in washington right now regarding afghanistan and the long-range plan, but certainly we need to try to start in some way decreasing the deployment and making it a longer time between deployments. but that i see as almost we have
to look at the quality of what does it take to get the quality young men and women of the country to enlist in our armed forces even given the are going to have repetitive to limit. as you know the congress is maintaining armies by the constitution as a part of their responsibility and with that, i see a requirement to make sure the uniform leadership speaks out in terms of what it's going to take in terms of its sentenced to get the right people to come into the army, not to keep lowering the standards saying we've got to meet our reenlistment objectives at putting pressure on the recruiting command but rather look at what we can do incentive wise to get people to come in. does it take more education, credits? what does it take? and there are tools as you know that can be used. host could you talk about the need to have adequate health care. the healthcare bill from the time you in by preserving at the pentagon as i recall is 19 billion per year and it's now about 55 and escalating and you
have six to regain its saying we've got to have some kind of a restraint. now there is one component that would be important to attract quality people to come to the military. what are the other ones? its pay -- what else will pull people love? i say this in the context when you decided after completing your first two years in the military you go back home to your wife, you have got a good job, 62 corvette, you love the corvettes, and a 63 in paula. you had a nice german shepherd named stryker trooper. you had kind of the ideal life yet decided you wanted to go back in after having served two years you said i want to go back. what point you back in from the quality-of-life you had at that point at a very young age? >> guest: you might say the band of brothers centrum, the fact that my unit, the one i had
been with for two years now the first cab decision had deployed to vietnam and was in the valley and a member of my close friends had either been wounded or killed, and being back in the textile business i was doing very well and i was were fortunate and worked with great guys but i felt like i had a calling to go back and join and help in this fight that our country had elected to put our military in and so that drove me to say -- and i really enjoyed my time in the military and that close association with people and leading people and having the chance on a daily basis to have 40 or 50 people on the case of my platoon, there was a great challenge, but a great opportunity as i saw. >> host: ask in the context of what if we go back to a draft situation as compared to an all volunteer force and most of the uniformed military including yourself supply would rather have people who want to be
there. what do you feel about a two year commitment to the universal service so you could develop the same kind of relationship whether one is serving in the military in the peace corps working to help out in nursing homes, something that you contribute to the community locally and at large? does it then helped to build this brand of borut brother hoard or sisterhood to a cause haulier than yourself and that builds a sense of wanting to do more, is there a case to be made for that? >> guest: the leadership there are three states to that, integrity, personal integrity, professional ethics and selfless service and i believe that time is right into selfless service. i think every american owes it to this great nation of ours to give and push a very small portion for most of us in our lives to helping the country, and service in some organizations would be the right thing to do. it could be military, the peace
corps, it could be some other organization but i think the you gain a lot from that, and i've never talked to anyone who served a couple of years in the surface that didn't comment on what it did for them. i even talk to ceos and some of our fortune 100 companies that say the two years i spent, one of them as an enlisted man in the imam said i've never forgotten the lessons i learned in the leadership i learned during that period. it is quite impressive and the version to the commission certainly gained. >> guest: what you see is the biggest threat looking today and tomorrow? >> guest: i think in terms of the external threats the biggest thing we have to watch as our military now has an afghan we have a whole decade of officers and soldiers throughout that have only had an afghan and iraq experience, and we have walked
away from some of the central training that we use to do ten years ago that prepared us to fight in the joint environment as an army navy integrated force in the large scale and as we look down stream at the potential threats with or not we look at china and the growing offensive capabilities and their desire to control in the pacific or whether we look at potential north korea and iran scenario that's not the same type of situation that you find yourself in iraq or afghanistan. so we need to try to refocus i believe to make sure we can deal with a total threat, not just the current threat. >> host: what are your thoughts up the situation in north korea right now? >> guest: you know, ken mick jongh it was one of those individuals i think trying to read his mind is almost mission impossible, so i think we just have to be prepared but at the same time, we've got some
countries like japan and south korea working with us and us leaning on china and hopefully the u.n. leaning on china to actively engage with the north koreans and solve the situation politically, diplomatically, economically if that is what it takes rather than use the military and doing everything within our power to keep that from turning into a hot war. but again we have to be prepared to go to the rescue of our great friends and partners in south korea and that means a totally different focus and fighting another theory and that force stretched in the army and the marine corps that is a pretty tall order. >> host: you are optimistic about afghanistan and where we are today and what prospect looks like in terms of bringing that country to a stable situation where they can secure their own borders and not provide a haven for either al qaeda or the taliban.
>> guest: i am not optimistic right now and i will go back to the morning of the 12th of september, 2001 when the director of the cia said the toughest thing we will face in afghanistan in terms of leaving a stabilized government or the war lords. you have the 14th century culture, a second most corrupt nation in the world and trying to train the police force and train an army and give karzai central government president, whoever he is, force is both internally that can protect him internally and externally, and that is a tall order defend the culture, and to think that we can do that and start pulling the combat forces out as early as 2011i think it is a bridge too far and you cannot get there from here and whether or not we want to come at to a long-term lease stable government behind keeping in mind pakistan is a very important part as well particularly with nuclear
weapons we don't want them to fall to al qaeda and they have a big threat themselves so trying to work in that region and leave behind a region free of al qaeda or taliban rule is a tall order and cannot be done by 2011 or 12 so that is our goal to have it wrapped up - personally i would say we might as well start leaving now because we cannot get there from here. >> host: the have stretched it at least the chairman of triet chief since ticket to regain its talked about 2014, persuading the nato allies that is more realistic time frame but even looking at 2014, given the history of afghanistan and the problems of illiteracy and the power of the war lords etc. that he was articulate is it any more realistic at 2014 to say it can be a stable country and not provide a haven? >> guest: y and tuc